GETTING TO YES: Reaching Agreement Without Giving In by Roger & William Ury Fisher
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GETTING TO YES: Reaching Agreement Without Giving In

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The findings of the Harvard Negotiation Project on the subject of getting what you need--not necessarily what you initially want--in negotiations from the humblest landlord-tenant dispute to complex international crises. Harvard Law professor Fisher, an armchair-negotiator in the Arab-Israeli conflict (Dear Israelis, Dear Arabs, 1972), was active in negotiating the hostage release; Ury, a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law, helped direct the Negotiation Project. The recommended procedure, as they explain it, has four basic steps: separate the people from the problem; address underlying interests and needs rather than becoming deadlocked into rigid positions; consider multiple options for solution; and insist that the outcome be based on an objective criterion rather than the triumph of one party's will. This is the style of negotiating that has become most popular recently; it stresses something for everybody, or a win-win stance, rather than how-to-outwit. But the Fisher-Ury method is a little more detailed and thoughtful than most attempts at designing a successful negotiating approach, so it ultimately inspires more confidence. In the area of considering interests rather than positions, for example, they stress that the Israelis and Arabs were hopelessly deadlocked as long as each of them insisted on total control of the Sinai. When negotiators took into account Israel's primary interest in security and Egypt's overriding interest in sovereignty, the Camp David accord was made possible by giving Egypt the Sinai itself but demilitarizing crucial areas. On a more mundane level, a librarian solved a dispute of two patrons over an open window (fresh air vs. draft) not by leaving the window half open--which would have satisfied no one--but by opening a window in an adjoining room. Fisher and Ury also have some ideas on what to do if the other guy is more powerful, or ""won't play,"" or uses dirty tricks (e.g., negotiate about the rules of the game). Insofar as possible--not all cases, it's acknowledged, lend themselves to the approach--this gives the reader a better handle on winning agreement than just about any other guide around.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1981
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin